Petersburg’s borough assembly may look into the process for reducing property taxes for some portions of service area one, or the land within the old limits for the city of Petersburg.
Land owners within this area all pay the same tax rate, set each year by the borough assembly. The tax rate outside the service area has been set at around half that amount, in recognition that residents there are not receiving all the services available closer to downtown Petersburg.
Over the years, some property owners within service area one have come forward to the borough assembly asking for a reduced tax rate as well.
Kandi Woodworth and her husband live on Mitkof Highway but also own property at Frederick Point East.
“The issue then isn’t wanting the borough to provide services to Frederick Point East, it is the fact that Frederick Point East was placed in service area number one and is being taxed at the full operational mill rate, an education mill rate of 4.33 plus the general service mill rate of five when there has been no services provided nor is there any intention by the borough to provide services at any time in the foreseeable future,” Woodworth told the assembly.
The Frederick Point East subdivision is on the eastern shore of Mitkof Island. The remote properties are accessed by a trail from a forest road that cuts across the island. Woodworth told the assembly that the area should not be part of service area one.
Assembly member Jeff Meucci sounded supportive of the idea. Meucci thought Frederick Point would be just the first area that could be in line for a reduction.
“People should be charged accordingly to the services they are provided by the borough,” Meucci said. “Sewer and water goes out to about 4-mile out Mitkof Highway and after that we’re on our own and I don’t feel that people who live outside the main service area where sewer and water is provided should be paying the same property tax as the people inside where those service are provided.”
There are many properties inside service area one that are not on the borough’s water and sewer system, including Frederick Point North, the Cabin Creek subdivision, Mitkof Highway parcels and other land close to Scow Bay and the airport runway.
Assembly member Bob Lynn wanted borough staff to report back on a process for creating more service areas.
“I would suggest that the first thing we do is to ask the clerk and the borough manager to put together a, however you want to state it, but what all the process is, not only for us but the public to see what the process you have to go through,” Lynn suggested.
Petersburg’s borough charter outlines a process for creating a new service area, or reducing the size of the current one. That process starts with passage of an ordinance but also requires a majority vote by impacted property owners or voters. The issue was a discussion item only at this month’s second meeting of the borough assembly.